It's a kobold! RUN! Wait, really?


Quote Originally Posted by Het of Wyrmtooth Mountain
Het of Wyrmtooth Mountain

Every kobold has his day... but today wasn’t his.
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Het hissed in alarm. The sentries had seen a group of humans approaching, and they weren’t anything like the gnomish caravans that frequented this mountain pass. They’d been raiding the caravans passing through for nearly three tendays without retaliation. Seems like the gnomes had finally decided to try and put an end to them.

Typical gnomes. Too cowardly to do it themselves. Had to hire big folk to do it.

He grabbed his shortspear and, with his squadmates, rushed out to defend the colony. There were losses on the kobold side, of course, but that had been planned on. But they were also slowly whittling down the numbers of the humans.

That is, until one of the heavily armored humans raised his warhammer into the air and shouted a short phrase in a tongue that sounded like sunlight hitting a mossy trunk. A heartbeat later, massive pearlescent fog banks appeared, and then vanished a second later, revealing a trio of massive centipedes.

Immediately, they crawled forwards and started slaughtering all kobolds in the vicinity. Even as Het charged them with his comrades, one of them turned and snipped one of them neatly in half. He tried to fight, but to no avail. The last thing the he saw was a descending claw-foot.

When he next opened his eyes, the world was blue-shifted, and he could see his body lying on the ground as the adventurers plundered the bodies, not bothering to wait for the dying kobolds to stop breathing.

“OH. HELLO THERE.”

Het turned and saw a figure draped in a midnight black cloak. A skeletal muzzle peeked our frmo underneath the deep cowl.

“You’re.... you’re Death, aren’t you?”

“WELL, DEATH OF KOBOLDS. BUT YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE YET.”

“What do you mean?”

“YOU’RE EARLY FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT. I’M AFRAID THAT THAT’S NOT ALLOWED.”

Het backed away as the menacing figure stalked towards him. He tripped over his own body, nd when he regained his feet, the hooded one was right in front of him.

“GOODBYE.” The figure said in a cold, dry tone and tapped him on the forehead.

Het’s eyes snapped open as he woke up. Stripped down to his smallclothes, he was surprised to see that he was the final kobold left alive on the field; the monstrous centipedes had done their jobs well.

That day, he swore vengeance against the common adventurers that had slain his tribe, and vowed to harness Death of Kobold’s power to take his revenge.


Build
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NE male Jungle Kobold Swordsage 10/Death Delver 10
{table=head]Level|Class|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Skills|Feats|Class Features

1st|Swordsage 1 |
+0
|
+0
|
+2
|
+2
| Balance 4, Concentration 4, Hide 4, Knowledge (Religion) 2, MS 4, Tumble 4|Adaptive Style|Quick to Act +1, Discipline focus (Weapon focus) (Shadow Hand)

2nd|Swordsage 2 |
+1
|
+0
|
+3
|
+3
| Balance 5, Concentration 5, Heal 1, Hide 5, MS 5, Tumble 5| |AC Bonus (Wis to AC)

3rd|Swordsage 3 |
+2
|
+1
|
+3
|
+3
| Concentration 6, Hide 6, Knowledge (Religion) 3, MS 6, Tumble 6|Earth Devotion|

4th|Swordsage 4 |
+3
|
+1
|
+4
|
+4
| Concentration 7, Heal 3, Hide 7, MS 7, Tumble 7| |Discipline Focus (insightful strikes) (Diamond Mind)

5th|Swordsage 5 |
+3
|
+1
|
+4
|
+4
| Concentration 8, Hide 8, Knowledge (Religion) 4, MS 8, Tumble 8| |Quick to Act +2

6th|Death Delver 1 |
+3
|
+3
|
+4
|
+6
| Concentration 9, Spot 1|Steady Concentration|Deathsense, rebuke undead

7th|Death Delver 2 |
+4
|
+4
|
+4
|
+7
| Concentration 10, Spot 2| |Deadened soul, spontaneous casting (inflict)

8th|Death Delver 3 |
+5
|
+4
|
+5
|
+7
| Concentration 11, Spot 3| |Death ward 1/day

9th|Swordsage 6 |
+6
|
+5
|
+6
|
+8
| Concentration 12, Hide 10, MS 9, Tumble 10|Underfoot Combat|

10th|Death Delver 4 |
+7
|
+6
|
+6
|
+9
| Concentration 13, Spot 4|Diehard (B)|

11th|Death Delver 5 |
+7
|
+6
|
+6
|
+9
| Concentration 14, Spot 5| |Fear aura

12th|Death Delver 6 |
+8
|
+7
|
+7
|
+10
| Concentration 15, Spot 6|Confound the Big Folk|Death ward 2/day

13th|Swordsage 7 |
+9
|
+7
|
+7
|
+10
| Concentration 16, Hide 12, MS 12| |Sense Magic

14th|Death Delver 7 |
+10
|
+7
|
+7
|
+10
| Concentration 17, Spot 7| |Cheat death

15th|Death Delver 8 |
+11
|
+8
|
+7
|
+11
| Concentration 18, Spot 8|Extra Readied Maneuver|Mantle of Life

16th|Death Delver 9 |
+11
|
+8
|
+8
|
+11
| Concentration 19, Spot 9| |Death ward 3/day

17th|Death Delver 10 |
+12
|
+9
|
+8
|
+12
| Concentration 20, Spot 10| |Nine lives

18th|Swordsage 8 |
+13
|
+9
|
+9
|
+13
| Concentration 21, Hide 14, MS 15|Combat Reflexes|Discipline Focus (defensive stance) (Shadow Hand)

19th|Swordsage 9 |
+13
|
+10
|
+9
|
+13
| Concentration 22, Hide 16, MS 18| |Evasion

20th|Swordsage 10 |
+14
|
+10
|
+10
|
+14
| Concentration 23, Hide 19, MS 20| |Quick to Act +1[/table]
Staring abilities: STR 10, DEX 16, CON 14, INT 10, WIS 15, CHA 10. Level up points at 4th, 16th and 20th go to WIS, while the 8th and 12th level points go to DEX.


Manoeuvres
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Manoeuvres Readied
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{table=head]Level|Readied
1st|4

2nd|4

3rd|5

4th|5

5th|6

6th|6

7th|6

8th|6

9th|6

10th|6

11th|6

12th|6

13th|6

14th|6

15th|7

16th|7

17th|7

18th|8

19th|8

20th|9[/table]

Manoeuvres Selected
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1- Shadow Blade Technique, Wolf Fang Strike, Burning Blade, Sapphire Nightmare Blade, Clinging Shadow Strike, Distracting Ember, Mighty Throw
2- Mountain Hammer, Emerald Razor, Cloak of Deception
3- Insightful Strike
4- Ruby Nightmare Blade, Obscuring Shadow Strike
5- Shadow Stride
6- Greater Insightful Strike, Moment of Alacrity
7- Shadow Blink
8- Diamond Nightmare Blade, One with Shadow

Traded Wolf Fang Strike out for Cloak of Deception at SS 4, Burning Blade for Obscuring Shadow Strike at SS 6, Sapphire Nightmare Blade for Greater Insightful Strike at SS 8, and Clinging Shadow Strike for One with Shadow at SS 10.

Stances Known
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ECL 1- Child of Shadow
ECL 2- Island of Blades
ECL 5- Assassin’s Stance
ECL 18- Pearl of Black Doubt/Giant Killing Style



Tactics
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Death is just the beginning (ECL 1-5)
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Het plays like a typical low-STR swordsage for the first few levels of his career, with an emphasis on Diamond Mind and Shadow Hand. The major difference here, however, is that he can wield a longspear for reach.... and still threaten with his bite attack (thanks to the RotD web enhancement).

Het mainly uses the Child of Shadows stance if he’s solo, and switches out to Island of Blades if he’s with a melee partner. Biggest weakness at these levels is his lack of threat – his manoeuvres are his main source of damage, and he needs a full-round action to refresh them. He favours Sapphire Nightmare Blade, Insightful Strike and Shadow Blade Technique for combat, with Mountain Hammer thrown in for DR and utility.

Embrace the cold hand of Death (ECL 6-13)
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Het has started taking Death Delver levels, and with those come rebuke undead uses – perfect to fuel additional uses of Earth Devotion, letting you ignore terrain, or, more importantly, insuring that your meat shieldopponent cannot 5’ step away and leave you vulnerable. Death Delver spells mainly function as utility/support, granting you allies in the form of undead (for Island of Blades-style flanking to activate SA), and the ability to heal them with spontaneous inflict spells. Death ward offers some protection until you hit 9 lives, also leaving you some space to prepare more useful spells. Fear aura is, unfortunately, little used except to freak out the little(r) guys.

By the tail end of these levels, you’ve hit upon your major strategy. With the combination of Underfoot Combat/Confound the Big Folk/Slight Build, you should be able to count yourself as Tiny for the purposes of the feats, meaning that you can run wily-nilly into Medium creatures’ spaces to activate Confound the Big Folk. It might be appropriate to have a non-reach weapon to use while in your opponent’s space, although since most of your damage comes from your manoeuvres, you could theoretically rely on your bite to deliver them. Steady Concentration gives you the ability to take 10 on Concentration checks, giving you the option of reliable damage with your Diamond Mind strikes. Try using Shadow Stride to waltz into their squares and hit them with a Ruby Nightmare Blade or an Insightful Strike.

It’s worth noting that if your DM doesn’t allow you to count yourself as Tiny for this combination, a permanencied reduce person should barely blip on your budget by ECL 12.

Master Death, cheat Death, defeat Death (ECL 14-20)
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Here we move onto the intense manoeuvres. Het obtains both Shadow Stride/Blink, providing excellent mobility. Adaptive Style combined with Moment of Alacrity means that he can tailor his manoeuvres for every encounter, effectively having all of his manoeuvres readied at anytime (spend a swift action to activate MoA, then a full-round to switch out manoeuvres, ready for next round). A bonus to all saves from the discipline that you’re most likely to be in a stance from is always sweet. Your final stance, granted at ECL 18 doesn’t much matter. I’d recommend either Giant Killing Style (pre-requisite fulfilled by Mighty Throw), as all of your opponents will likely be bigger than you, and Het can really use the to hit bonuses, or Pearl of Black Doubt and really trying to stack those miss chances (as it triggers on a miss, not specifying due/not due to what).

Cheat Death is useful for stretching his hit points as far as possible, and maybe even saving his life, preventing him from using one of his nine lives. Since there’s no limit on the amount of times that Mantle of Life can be used per day, we can assume that he always has it running, granting him (and his party) a constant +4 to Will saves. Death ward is effectively constant at these levels, thankfully, as it helps to preserve his nine lives, obtained at ECL 17.


The Archives
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Races of the Dragon web enhancement
Unearthed Arcana
Tome of Battle
Races of the Wild
Player’s Handbook
Heroes of Horror
Complete Champion
Races of Stone